Congress president polls | Team Shashi Tharoor finds major discrepancies in the voter list 

In one of the many setbacks they are facing, they discovered that at least 500 names were deleted from the old list that was handed to them by the party when Mr. Tharoor filed his nomination papers.  

In one of the many setbacks they are facing, they discovered that at least 500 names were deleted from the old list that was handed to them by the party when Mr. Tharoor filed his nomination papers.  

Congress presidential hopeful Shashi Tharoor and his team found major indiscrepancies with the list of delegates handed over to them by the Central Election Committee of the party.

On September 30 when Mr. Tharoor filed his nomination paper and he was handed over a list of delegates who would be voting for the election. There were no addresses or phone numbers against the list of many of these delegates, so his team asked for help from the CEC. On October 5th they were handed over a second list, which interestingly, didn’t have at least 500 names that the earlier list had but instead had another 600 odd additional names.

On October 13, 2022 addressing a press conference at Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee office, Mr Tharoor speaking about the problems with the list said, “There were incomplete contact details in the list of delegates that we received. Some lists had names but no contact numbers, some had names but no proper address. Hence it was difficult to reach out to them,” Mr Tharoor said on Thursday. He insists that this is not a complaint against anyone but it is only obvious that there are flaws in the party’s system as no such election was held in 22-years.

His campaign manager, Salman Anees Soz speaking to The Hindu said, “ There have been complaints about various state delegate lists. Some may get resolved before the election and others may not. But we do communicate with the central election authority and they try to address issues.”

This discrepancies in the list is one of the many setbacks that Mr. Tharoor and his team have had this campaign. With the Congress Presidential elections nearly coming to a close, the contrast between campaigns of two candidates — Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor could not be starker.

In the last seven days while Mr. Kharge has already met 25 Congress state units, while resource strapped Mr. Tharoor has managed only five. The former has lined up endorsement messages from the senior leadership of the party, while the latter is banking on the “aam Congress worker” to deliver the surprise.

In the last two days of the campaign, Mr. Tharoor is headed to Patna, Bhopal and Lucknow before returning to Thiruvananthapuram to cast his vote on October 17. Mr. Kharge meanwhile is going to Bhubaneswar and Chennai on Friday and having jetted around all four sides of the country, he has not planned any tours for the remaining two-days.

While, both Mr. Kharge and Mr. Tharoor’s insistence that the incumbent president Sonia Gandhi is neutral in this election, Mr. Kharge is getting clearly preferential treatment over his opponent, especially by the Congress state unit head. And this despite explicit orders from the Central Election Committee Chairperson Madhusudan Mistry to the Pradesh Congress Committee Presidents to stay away from the campaign.

On October 13, 2022, when Mr. Tharoor reached the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee office where barely 20 persons were present, forcing him to ask, “We are holding elections after 22 years and there will be shortcomings. But to many places I traveled, I felt some of the Pradesh Congress Committee Chiefs were not keen on meeting me. They never showed me the same warmth they have for Mr. Kharge. I am not complaining, but can’t you see the difference in treatment?”

Same day Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Committee President KS Alagiri tweeted out pictures of him inspecting preparations for Mr. Kharge’s Friday’s visit. Tagging Mr. Alagiri, Mr. Tharoor’s campaign manager and senior Congress leader Salman Anees Soz tweeted, “The guidelines issued by Madhusudan Mistry ji on October 3 are clear. PCC Presidents must take a hands-off approach to the election of our next President. I request you and senior leaders to adhere to Mistry ji’s guidelines. Last week, when Mr. Tharoor reached Chennai, only a handful of the 700 odd delegates in the state were present at his meeting which otherwise choc-a-bloc with ordinary citizens.

Despite, the lack of level playing field, Mr. Tharoor is not in a mood to give up just yet. His team members feel that win or lose, just by standing up for elections, Mr. Tharoor has triggered a debate and generated interest about Congress. “Mr. Tharoor is contesting this election to win. But even if he doesn’t win, the quantum of votes that he gets is also equally important. If he manages to get 12 per cent of votes like Sharad Pawar got in the 1997 election against Sitaram Kesri we shall know that his candidature has made a significant difference,” a member of Team Tharoor said. And the team is confident that they will be able to meet this modest target as many of the delegates are raring for change.

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